Many still consider hackers and cybercriminals harmless individuals who can’t do much harm with a computer but as our world has grown more and more reliant on technology, cybercriminals represent a clear and present danger to us all.
It comes as something of a relief then to hear that the US Department of Justice is taking cybercrime incredibly seriously, especially when it comes to ransomware.
According to a report from Reuters, internal guidance sent to US attorney’s offices across the country says that information about ransomware investigations in the field should be filed with a centrally co-ordinated taskforce in Washington.
“It’s a specialized process to ensure we track all ransomware cases regardless of where it may be referred in this country, so you can make the connections between actors and work your way up to disrupt the whole chain,” principle associate deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice, John Carlin, told Reuters.
This makes a lot of sense when you stop to think about it.
The trouble with cybercrime and malware is that different strains of malware can house similar pieces of code to other bits of malware but often the methods used for compromise are similar. Being able to have a bird’s eye view of the threat landscape may help to identify threat actors quicker than in the past.
According to Carlin, the US has used a similar model for terrorism but never for ransomware.
But it’s not just ransomware as the central office must be notified regarding investigations into the following case types :
- counter anti-virus services
- illicit online forums or marketplaces
- cryptocurrency exchanges
- bulletproof hosting services
- online money laundering services
The US has been the target of two high-profile ransomware attacks recently. The Colonial Pipeline was recently targeted by the Darkside group and ultimately the chief executive Joseph Blount paid the ransom amounting to $4.4 million.
More recently JBS meat packing in the US was the target of a ransomware attack.
Perhaps this sort of response from US government will inspire private entities and other governments to take the threat of cybercrime a bit more seriously.